Why would I pick a yeast expression system for expression of my protein, as opposed to expression systems in other hosts?

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Yeast is a single-celled, eukaryotic organism that can grow quickly in defined media (doubling times are typically 2.5 hr in glucose-containing media) and is easier and less expensive to use for recombinant protein production than insect or mammalian cells (see table below). These positive attributes make yeast suitable for use in formats ranging from multi-well plates, shake flasks, and continuously stirred tank bioreactors to pilot plant and industrial-scale reactors.

The most commonly employed species in the laboratory are Saccharomyces cerevisiae (also known as Baker’s or Brewer’s yeast) and some methylotrophic yeasts of the Pichia genus. Both S. cerevisiae and P. pastoris have been genetically characterized and shown to perform the posttranslational disulphide bond formation and glycosylation that is crucial for the proper functioning of some recombinant proteins. However, it is important to note that yeast glycosylation does differ from that in mammalian cells: in S. cerevisiae, O-linked oligosaccharides contain only mannose moieties, whereas higher eukaryotic proteins have sialylated O-linked chains. Furthermore S. cerevisiae is known to hyperglycosylate N-linked sites, which can result in altered protein binding, activity, and potentially yield an altered immunogenic response in therapeutic applications. In P. pastoris, oligosaccharides are of much shorter chain length and a strain has been reported that can produce complex, terminally sialylated or “humanized” glycoproteins.

Answer Id: E9477

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Can old premixed lithium acetate buffers be used for preparing and transforming Saccharomyces cerevisiae?

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Stock buffers of TE, lithium acetate, and PEG can be stored. However, the combined solution used to prepare the cells for transformation must be made fresh every time. There is a loss in transformation efficiency if the solutions are not freshly prepared.

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Where is the polyadenylation sequence in pYES2?

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The polyadenylation occurs at base 103.

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For galactose induction of expression in S. cerevisiae, can I include additional carbon sources in the media to increase yeast growth without repressing expression from the GAL promoter?

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Some researchers choose to grow yeast in medium containing 2% galactose as the sole carbon source during induction. However, yeast typically grow more quickly in induction medium containing 2% galactose plus 2% raffinose. Raffinose is a good carbon source for yeast, and unlike glucose, does not repress transcription from the GAL promoter. Raffinose is a trisaccharide of galactose, glucose, and fructose linked in that order. Most yeast can cleave the glucose-fructose bond, but not the galactose-glucose bond. Fructose is then used as a carbon source.

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What choices do you offer for protein expression in a yeast host system, and what are their features?

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We offer the original Pichia pastoris expression systems, PichiaPink™ expression system, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast expression system for expression of recombinant proteins. Both P. pastoris and S. cerevisiae have been genetically well-characterized and are known to perform many posttranslational modifications.

The P. pastoris expression system combines the benefits of expression in E. coli (high-level expression, easy scale-up, and inexpensive growth) and the advantages of expression in a eukaryotic system (protein processing, folding, and posttranslational modifications), thus allowing high-level production of functionally active recombinant protein. As a yeast, Pichia pastoris shares the advantages of molecular and genetic manipulations with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and it has the added advantage of 10- to 100-fold higher heterologous protein expression levels. These features make Pichia pastoris very useful as a protein expression system. The Pichia expression vectors contain either the powerful alcohol oxidase (AOX1) promoter for high-level, tightly controlled expression, or the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAP) promoter for high-level, constitutive expression. Both inducible and constitutive expression constructs integrate into the P. pastoris genome, creating a stable host that generates extremely high protein expression levels, particularly when used in a fermentor. The Pichia pastoris expression systems we offer include:

- PichiaPink™ Yeast Expression System: Newer Pichia pastoris expression system that contains both low- and high-copy plasmid backbones, 8 secretion signal sequences, and 4 yeast strains to help optimize for the highest yield possible of the recombinant protein. All PichiaPink™ vectors contain the AOX1 promoter for high-level, inducible expression and the ADE2 marker for selecting transformants using ADE2 complementation (i.e., by complementation of adenine auxotrophy) rather than antibiotic selection. However, they express the ADE2 gene product from promoters of different lengths, which dictate the copy number of the integrated plasmids. The pPink-LC vector has an 82 bp promoter for the ADE2marker and offers low-copy expression, and the pPink-HC vector has a 13 bp promoter for the ADE2marker and offers high-copy expression. The system also includes the pPinkalpha-HC vector (containing S. cerevisiae alpha-mating factor pre-sequence) for high copy number secreted expression, and provides eight secretion signal sequences for optimization of secreted expression.
- EasySelect™ Pichia Expression Kit: One of the original Pichia expression kits that contains the pPICZ and pPICZalpha vectors, for intracellular and secreted expression, respectively, of the gene of interest. These vectors contain the AOX1 promoter for high-level, inducible expression and the Zeocin™ antibiotic resistance marker for direct selection of multi-copy integrants. They facilitate simple subcloning, simple purification, and rapid detection of expressed proteins.
- Original Pichia Expression Kit: The kit includes the pPIC9, pPIC3.5, pHIL-D2, and pHIL-S1 vectors, each of which carries the AOX1 promoter for high-level, inducible expression and the HIS4 gene for selection in his4 strains, on histidine-deficient medium. pPIC9 carries the S. cerevisiae alpha-factor secretion signal while pHIL-S1 carries the Pichia pastoris alkaline phosphatase signal sequence (PHO) to direct transport of the protein to the medium. pHIL-D2 and pPIC3.5 are designed for intracellular expression.
- Multi-Copy Pichia Expression Kit: This kit is designed to maximize expression and contains the pPIC3.5K, pPIC9K, and pAO815 vectors, which allow production and selection of Pichia strains that contain more than one copy of the gene of interest. They allow isolation and generation of multicopy inserts by in vivo methods (pPIC3.5K and pPIC9K) or in vitro methods (pAO815). All of these vectors contain the AOX1 promoter for high-level, inducible expression and the HIS4 gene for selection in his4 strains, on histidine-deficient medium. The pPIC9K vector directs secretion of expressed proteins while proteins expressed from pPIC3.5K and pAO815 remain intracellular. The pPIC9K and pPIC3.5K vectors carry the kanamycin resistance marker that confers resistance to Geneticin™ Reagent in Pichia. Spontaneous generation of multiple insertion events can be identified by resistance to increased levels of Geneticin™ Reagent. Pichia transformants are selected on histidine-deficient medium and screened for their level of resistance to Geneticin™ Reagent. The ability to grow in high concentrations of Geneticin™ indicates that multiple copies of the kanamycin resistance gene and the gene of interest are integrated into the genome.
- For expression in S. cerevisiae, we offer the pYES™ Vector Collection. Each pYES™ vector carries the promoter and enhancer sequences from the GAL1 gene for inducible expression. The GAL1 promoter is one of the most widely used yeast promoters because of its strong transcriptional activity upon induction with galactose. pYES™ vectors also carry the 2m origin and are episomally maintained in high copy numbers (10-40 copies per cell).

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What are the different kinds of media used for culturing Pichia pastoris and S. cerevisiae?

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Following are the rich and minimal media used for culturing Pichia pastoris and S. cerevisiae:

Rich Media:
S. cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris
YPD (YEPD): yeast extract, peptone, and dextrose
YPDS: yeast extract, peptone, dextrose, and sorbitol

Pichia pastoris only
BMGY: buffered glycerol-complex medium
BMMY: buffered methanol-complex medium

Minimal Media (also known as drop-out media):
S. cerevisiae
SC (SD): Synthetic complete (YNB, dextrose (or raffinose or galactose), and amino acids)

Pichia pastoris
MGY: minimal glycerol medium
MD: minimal dextrose
MM: minimal methanol
BMGH: buffered minimal glycerol
BMMH: buffered minimal methanol

Answer Id: E9556

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For galactose induction of expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is it possible to include additional carbon sources in the media that will increase yeast growth without repressing expression from the GAL promoter?

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Some researchers choose to grow yeast in medium containing 2% galactose as the sole carbon source during induction. However, yeast typically grow more quickly in induction medium containing 2% galactose plus 2% raffinose. Raffinose is a good carbon source for yeast, and unlike glucose, does not repress transcription from the GAL promoter. Raffinose is a trisaccharide of galactose, glucose and fructose linked in that order. Most yeasts can cleave the glucose-fructose bond, but not the galactose-glucose bond. Fructose is then used as a carbon source.

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Which S. cerevisiae yeast strain do your kits contain?

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We offer the INVSc1 yeast strain. It is a diploid strain for expression purposes only. It does not sporulate well and is therefore not suited for yeast genetic studies. The genotype and phenotype of the INVSc1 strain are as follows:

Genotype: MATa his3?1 leu2 trp1-289 ura3-52/MATalpha his3?1 leu2 trp1-289 ura3-52
Phenotype: His-, Leu-, Trp-, Ura-
Note that INVSc1 is auxotrophic for histidine, leucine, tryptophan, and uracil. The strain will not grow in SC minimal medium that is deficient in histidine, leucine, tryptophan, and uracil.

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Will S. cerevisiae grow differently using galactose instead of glucose as a carbon source?

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S. cerevisiae can grow using either or both mechanisms of carbon metabolism. The balance between the two is different for glucose vs. galactose as a carbon source. Under ideal conditions, S. cerevisiae grows slower on galactose than on glucose, because production of glucose-6-P from galactose is rate limiting. (gal -> gal-1-P -> glu-1-P -> glu-6-P). Under non-ideal conditions (low oxygen, as in the center of a colony or a culture without really good oxygen feed), it becomes even worse because cells grown on galactose are using more respiration than fermentation relative to cells grown on glucose. Low oxygen makes fermentation more necessary, which cells growing on galactose are not good at.

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Does pYES2 have a CEN sequence?

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pYES2 does not have a CEN sequence. pYES2 has the 2μ ori which maintains a copy number of 30 to 50 copies per cell. The 2μ ori sequence is derived from the endogenous 2μ circle plasmid (it's the replication origin for 2μ circle).

'CEN' stands for 'CENtromere' sequence. This origin of replication keeps the copy number of that vector down to one or two per cell in yeast. CEN sequences are actual chromosome centromere sequences. CEN ori will keep copy number to 1 or 2 per cell (depending on whether the cell is haploid or diploid). This sequence allows the cell to recognize this plasmid as a chromosome; regulation of chromosome number is extremely rigid. Only functional CEN sequences from S. cerevisiae have been isolated and used on plasmids. CEN sequences are only a couple of hundred base pairs in size. Apparently functional centromere sequences from other eukaryotes, including Sc. pombe and Pichia, are too large to be isolated and utilized on a plasmid.

Answer Id: E3775

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What is the doubling time of pYES2 transformed S. cerevisiae strain on minimal yeast growth media when either glucose or galactose is used as the carbon source?

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The doubling time of a pYES2 transformed S. cerevisiae strain grown on minimal media with glucose is approximately 2 hours. The doubling time on media with galactose is approximately 4 hours.

Answer Id: E3926

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How many copies of plasmid per yeast cell are maintained from plasmids with a 2 micron origin of replication?

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The 2 micron plasmid occurs naturally in some strains of S. cerevisae. When a plasmid contains the 2 micron origin of replication it is maintained at 10-40 copies per cell.

Answer Id: E3864

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What are the different methods available for S. cerevisiae yeast transformation?

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Here are the different methods available for S. cerevisiae transformation:

- S. cerevisiae EasyComp™ Transformation Kit: easy-to-use, ready-made reagents
Competent cells can be stored frozen. Transformation efficiency is >10e3 transformants per μg DNA. Higher transformation efficiencies are often obtained with frozen versus freshly prepared cells.
- Small-scale yeast transformation protocol (page 13 of the manual)
- Lithium acetate transformation: easy, do-it-yourself protocol
Competent cells must be made fresh
- Electroporation: easy and high efficiency, do-it-yourself protocol
Competent cells must be made fresh
- Spheroplast Kit: high efficiency, a lot of work, not suitable for antibiotic selection
Note: Plate an appropriate density. Colonies will appear over several days. Don’t pick the largest colonies, as these are often suppressors.

Answer Id: E9546

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What are some of the common types of auxotrophic markers in yeast?

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The following are commonly employed auxotrophic markers:

1) his3Δ1: Histidine requiring strain (from gene disruption) with a deletion in locus 1. The his3 denotes the disruption of the HIS3 gene. The Δ1 is a deletion that has been engineered to decrease the recombination between the incoming plasmid DNA and the chromosomal site.
2) leu2: Leucine requiring strain due to the disruption of the LEU2 gene.
3) trp1-289: Tryptophan requiring strain, developed from gene disruption and a further point mutation to decrease the recombination between the incoming plasmid DNA and the chromosomal site.
4) ura3-52: Uracil requiring.

For more detail on types and methods of gene disruption in yeast refer to METHODS IN ENZYMOLOGY Vol. 194.

Answer Id: E3770

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What is an appropriate innoculum amount to begin a galactose induction experiment? How does raffinose affect the time course of galactose induction?

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The suggested initial cell density for galactose induction is 1 to 5 X 10E6 cells/ml . The cells are allowed to divide one or two times and then induced with galactose. Galactose induction is best in log phase and the culture will probably approach static phase at 1 to 4 X 10E7 cells/ml. Induction of cells maintained in raffinose may begin in 15 to 30 minutes whereas induction of cells maintained in glucose may not first occur for an hour or more. Peak expression will often occur in 2 - 4 hours so time points should be taken every hour (or every other hour) for up to 10 hours. When using raffinose maintained cells, the induction is much faster than induction of glucose maintained cells. Maximal expression levels remain the same.

Answer Id: E3778

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